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J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

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BB 47

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Post Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:30 pm

J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

I have a J&J Taylor 1855 safe. I have the combination. I have used the combination in the past . I have not opened the safe for several years and I have forgotten if I use the " Star" at 12 o'clock or the " Line " at one o'clock as the reference point. My instruction that I had written down state 4X right ( clockwise) for the first number, then 3X left ( counterclockwise) for the next number, then 2X right for the third number and finally left to the "Star". I have tried reversing the right and left and nothing seems to work. Any advice/ help would be appreciated ! By the way the dial seems sluggish and if I let go of the dial it tends to reverse itself just a fraction of an inch. Twisting or putting pressure on the handle on the safe door while I am turning the combination knob doesn't seem to help anything !
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MartinHewitt

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Post Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:01 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

For opening use always the symbol at 12 o´clock. When dialing dial to the nth occurrence of the number, so the 3x left means turn the dial left until the number is the third time on the star and stop. Is is common to do this wrong and turn the dial to far.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
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BB 47

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Post Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:28 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

Thanks for your quick reply ! I have tried starting the sequence at the "Star" at 12 o"clock. and I have very carefully stopped the rotation exactly on the number. As I stated earlier , I have opened the safe before ( years ago ) but for some reason I cannot figure out, I cannot get it to open now . As I stated earlier, the dial seems sluggish and I wonder if there is something I can do about that ! Any suggestions !!!
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MartinHewitt

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Post Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:51 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

The most important: Don't use force! :) Force without good knowledge makes it normally worse.

If you state in which area you live, maybe someone can give you a recommendation of local assistance.

Also some photos of the safe can help people here to identify e.g. lock which helps helping you.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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Cheesehead

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Post Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:24 am

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

it sounds to me like you might be dialing backwards. Normally with safes with 3 numbers for the combination you start by dialing counterclockwise. After dialing the combination you don’t stop at the star, you keep turning until it stops (about 85-90 on Taylor if I recall).

This might help: subtract 1 turn from each of your numbers. If you write “4x to the left” try making it 3. It’s not technically wrong but you might think about it differently now.

@Martin this safe will be from Canada, J J Taylor was a Canadian safe company that made their own locks. I think they were bought out around 1930 by Mosler. They feature a gravity drop fence, and in my opinion are the best looking locks. :)
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MartinHewitt

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Post Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:10 am

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

If it is that gravity fence which I have in mind, then stopping at 0 would make sense. But these gravity fence lock which I have in mind are common and not very good looking.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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MartinHewitt

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Post Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:30 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

@Cheesehead, do you mean a lock like it is shown in this thread? viewtopic.php?p=113438#p113438

Then it needs turning further than 0.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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Cheesehead

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Post Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:42 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

MartinHewitt wrote:@Cheesehead, do you mean a lock like it is shown in this thread? viewtopic.php?p=113438#p113438

Then it needs turning further than 0.


Yes this is one of them. It’s probably the most common old safe in Canada, at least I’ve seen more Taylors then everything else put together. I don’t know if they made vaults before the buyout but I did come across a Mosler Taylor vault door one time. It had a Diebold time lock and S&G 4-wheel vault locks. I’ll post pictures sometime.

Any luck there BB 47?

-Tyler
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MartinHewitt

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Post Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:59 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

@BB 47, if until tomorrow nobody with some knowledge about this safe gives you support you will get my generic tips.

@Cheesehead, are there cases where the lever doesn't want to drop in an unlocked lock?
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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Cheesehead

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Post Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:56 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

MartinHewitt wrote:@BB 47, if until tomorrow nobody with some knowledge about this safe gives you support you will get my generic tips.

@Cheesehead, are there cases where the lever doesn't want to drop in an unlocked lock?


Yes, sometimes they have some sort of old grease in them that doesn’t want to let the fence drop easily. Since it doesn’t have any springs these are very susceptible to any sticking. Sometimes what helps is spinning the wheel pack a lot to loosen up the fence.

I’ve only seen these locks with fixed flys, so if it is dialed the wrong direction then it won’t be close at all.

Also the last lock I opened the guy had a combination, but it had shifted slightly. Trying plus or minus 1 in either direction can help.

These locks have very narrow gate tolerances, you can’t be more than half a number out in either direction, in my experience.

-Tyler
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MartinHewitt

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Post Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:00 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

Assuming it is the above linked lock ...

If the hinge is on the right side and the handle is left/over/under the lock, then it is for sure a normal "right" lock. (Nearly all locks are "right".) With the lock linked above the sequence starts then with left. So you start with 4xleft your first number, 3xright your second number, 2xleft your third number and when all is good the dial stops when you then turn it right. The stopping point is normally in the range of 80 - 100 (if it is dial going up to 100). Here is a dialing instruction which you can use to check you are doing it right: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEtmAtdnXz8

This operation normal, easy operation, but locks can also be operated in the other direction with a modified combination. This would then be 4xright, 3xleft, 2xright, then left until the lever nose falls into the cam slot and finally right until stop to open the lock. So maybe you did the reverse operation with your combination. 4xright, 3xleft, 2xright, left to 0 to let the lever fall and you did not note the final right until stop.

If it won't open dial all wheels to somewhere else than 80 to 30, e.g. 50. Then turn the dial back to 0. Somewhere in this range the nose of the lever which moves the bolt should fall into a slot of the cam. You should be able to feel this. It is an area 5 to 15 wide where the turning has resistance points when coming from the middle of this area. This resistance comes from the cam needing to lift the lever out of the slot. If you can't feel something then it is either a different type of lock or something is borken or you just can't feel it. So it can be a bad sign or no sign at all. If you can feel it dial the combination and turn then to this area. Wiggle the dial around the area so that the nose touches the slot. This can loosen the lever and/or slightly move the code wheels into place if they are slightly of. If the feeling suddenly changes, then probably the lever fell and you can turn right to open.

It is also worth trying to modify the combination slightly in case something has shifted in the lock, e.g. all numbers +1, +2, +3, -1, -2, -3 or just the last number +1, +2, +3, -1, -2, -3.

So you have a bit to do. And don't forget photos. Better information means better help.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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Cheesehead

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Post Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:23 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

Just going to add a couple of things, Martin has said pretty much everything.

MartinHewitt wrote:If the hinge is on the right side and the handle is left/over/under the lock, then it is for sure a normal "right" lock. (Nearly all locks are "right".)


Nearly all Taylor locks are as well. I've never seen otherwise, but there may be somewhere.

MartinHewitt wrote: If you can't feel something then it is either a different type of lock or something is broken or you just can't feel it. So it can be a bad sign or no sign at all.


Even on a lock in terrific shape this can be very subtle. The doors dampen sound a fair bit, and usually the nose on the cam is worn, meaning the fence barely rides above the wheels. But if you go by quickly in the area Martin talks about you should feel something there.

Does this lock look similar? Pictures from you would be most helpful.

IMG_2505.jpg


@MartinHewitt: this is why I like these locks. Lots of them look this nice; this one happens to be a 4-wheel lock.

IMG_2500.jpg
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MartinHewitt

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Post Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

Wow! Lot of work for something hidden inside a safe door. Seen a view prestigious safes with engraved copper cladding on the door inside or etched glass.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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BB 47

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Post Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:08 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

Thanks for all the help !! I finally opened the safe !! I had to start at the " Star" at 12 o'clock and the first number was 4X left (counter clockwise ), then 3X right, 2X left. and finally right back to " Star".
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MartinHewitt

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Post Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:18 pm

Re: J&J Taylor 1855 safe - Need Help !!

Great!

I have never seen a combination lock where the starting point was important. It should also not be in your case.

Does it stop at the end at the star?
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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